Everyone does it. We get home, or leave work or the gym and we're so hungry we could really eat that proverbial cow. In our minds, we fantasize about those salt and vinegar chips or an order of fries.
We want something fast that satisfies our immediate hunger and somehow taking out our raw fruits and veggies and preparing a chopped salad from scratch holds no appeal. Nor does that lean chicken breast or tofu mixed with brown rice. Doesn't matter how 'easy' it is, we have to wash, prep and eat and clean up. Only those Martha Stewart types have all this stuff prepared in advance, right? And we're no Martha Stewarts!
Sometimes I indulge in a snack as I'm hurrying along to make my healthy meal and by the time the meal is done, I realize I have eaten too much of the not-so-healthy snack, all while trying to be healthy! That's what happens when we need.food.now!
But there are a few things we can do to curb that instinct to grab something fatty, sweet or salty. We can keep these foods in our cars and homes without much preparation needed. Here are some options:
This works for me every time. I love almonds and walnuts so I buy them in bulk and eat when hungry after working out (and/or there is no quick access to a healthy meal). Because these nuts are so tasty, it's hard to restrain but just a palm full is fine. No need to count them up or weigh anything - just a palm full of these nuts will fill a body up with foods rich in good fats (Omega 3s, especially in walnuts)) anti oxidants and fiber. They are also plentiful in vitamins B and E.
Another good idea is to do this 15 minutes before the biggest meal of the day. The body gets good nutrition and fills slightly, before the main meal. This can curb the need to over eat.
Even if not feeling thirsty, water is great for the body and a necessary tool for life. Some hunger pangs are actually the body looking for water, so drinking 16-24 oz of water before eating can help a person decide if what their body needs is food or water. A feeling of fullness happens pretty quickly and is a great way to turn away from those convenience foods that we want to devour, in order to satisfy sudden hunger.
Most fruits are better eaten whole, rather that in juice form. Juice can leave behind fiber and add too much of a sugar burst all at one time. Keep easy fruits around. Mandarin oranges are great for the car, apples fit easily into a purse and bananas offer a bulky, chewing satisfaction that helps stop us from grabbing chips or cookies because we need food...now. Same with veggies. Pre peeled baby carrots and other options make snacks easier to tote around. We can also take along dried figs and sunflower seeds to curb the need to pig out when sudden starvation attacks. Not only that, but will give a much needed boost to the body of vitamins, minerals, beta carotene and fiber.
Organic granola is a good choice for sudden hunger pangs. No milk needed, a bag of these granola's store well, and are filled with iron rich raisins, healthy nuts and fiber filled grains.
A Fresh Minty Feeling
Food aside, if you feel you're going to binge on something greasy because you just can't wait, brushing teeth with mint flavored toothpaste or chewing some mint flavored gum can really help to tide a person over until they can spend a little time preparing some good food. Mint is a short-term appetite suppressant and can be used occasionally to fob off an emergency gorge! As a bonus, this activity will help keep mouths healthy.
These tips are meant as ways to curb unhealthy snacking when hunger quickly strikes - they are not diet tools in order to prevent eating healthy, well-balanced meals.
There are many ways to curb a snack attack! Do you have some to share?
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